IAF gets its first Apache Guardian attack helicopter at Boeing production facility in US

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The Indian Air Force received its first Apache Guardian attack helicopter at a production facility of Boeing in Arizona on Friday.

India had in 2015 signed a multi-billion dollar contract with the US government and Boeing for 22 Apache helicopters.

Air Marshal AS Butola, representing the IAF, accepted the first Apache in a ceremony at the Boeing production facility.

The addition of AH-64 E (I) Apache helicopter is a significant step towards modernisation of the force’s helicopter fleet, the IAF said in a tweet.

The helicopter has been customized to suit IAF’s future requirements and would have significant capability in mountainous terrain.

The AH-64E Apache is a leading multi-role attack helicopter and is flown by the US Army.

The first batch of these helicopters is scheduled to be shipped to India by July this year.

“Selected aircrew and ground crew have undergone training at the training facilities at US Army base Fort Rucker, Alabama. These personnel will lead the operationalisation of the Apache fleet in the IAF,” the IAF said in a statement.

“The helicopter has the capability to carry out precision attacks at standoff ranges and operate in hostile airspace with threats from the ground,” the IAF said.

It said the ability of these helicopters, to transmit and receive the battlefield picture, to and from the weapon systems through data networking makes it a lethal acquisition.

“These attack helicopters will provide a significant edge in any future joint operations in support of land forces,” the IAF added.

The 22 Apache AH 64D Longbow helicopters are one of the most advanced multi-role combat helicopters, featuring all-weather and night fighting features, ability to track up to 128 targets in less than a minute and engage with 16, besides stealth characteristics, advanced sensors and beyond visual range missiles.

Additionally, the Defence Ministry in 2017 approved the procurement of six Apache helicopters along with weapons systems from Boeing at a cost of Rs 4,168 crore for the Army. This will be its first fleet of attack choppers.

Fuselages for this Army order will be produced by Tata Boeing Aerospace Limited, a joint venture between Boeing and Tata Advanced Systems in Hyderabad.

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